Bicycle leaning against tree in park


With today’s commute, I’ve brought my monthly total up to 408km — above 400km for the first time since May.

Bar chart of distance cycled per month
Highest point since May

High temperatures and rainy weather cut into my riding in the intervening months, which is not surprising in light of Japan’s climate and typhoon activity. What’s interesting about my breaking through the 400km mark this month is that the lion’s share of the riding was from commuting. I cycled to and from work no less than 10 times this month (out of 22 working days), for 259.52km or 63.5% of the total.

Also of note: I didn’t achieve a fondo (metric century) this month, which makes the 400km total all the more surprising.

In fact, the only rides I did which were not commutes were both on the same weekend: a ride down the Arakawa on Sept. 11 and then the opposite direction, up the Arakawa to Kawagoe, on Sept. 12.

The upshot is I’ve spent far more time on Dionysus this month than Kuroko.

Calendar of bicycle ride records
No rides before the 7th

We’d planned to ride to Nanasawa Onsen on Sept. 18-19, but a typhoon put paid to that. (We ended up going by car.) And Sept. 25-26 was another road trip, this time to Tateshina in Nagano.

(The forecast for tomorrow is for rain, so I already know I won’t be improving on this month’s statistics.)

Summary of monthly riding statistics
No idea when all that climbing happened

So what’s the big deal?

It’s true that 400km is a rather arbitrary number. But Strava offers a badge at 400km/month, and I register for it each month even if I don’t think I’m going to get there (as in July and August).

Strava 400km badge
400km badge

I’ll just note in this context that 400km is about three days’ riding for Fearless Leader Joe … (We actually did 400km in days 2-4 of Lejog, and north of 370km/3 days in days 4-7.)

Strava used to have an 800km badge, but I haven’t seen it recently. The next level up now is 1,200km.

The things I’ve seen, son

I could tell you stories

A partial list of things I’ve seen and encountered during my now-regular commuting routine:

  • A scooter rider who must have been told he resembled John Banner, because he wore a German military-style helmet (and did indeed look quite a bit like Sergeant Schultz as a result)
  • じゃんじゃんおじさん (Jingle-Jangle Uncle), a middle-aged man in bright, clownish apparel (including a sign with this appellation) and sporting signboards spelling out the evils of littering, who was picking up empty cans and other litter
  • Rain on a day with a forecast of 0% probability of precipitation
  • An Uber Eats rider rounding an intersection corner into the bike lane, without pausing to check if someone else was already in the bike lane
    (To be fair, a lot of Japanese cyclists do this — but I expect a bit better of those who cycle for a living)
  • More than a few drivers of German sports cars who sidle up to the curb at stop lights, preventing cyclists from advancing in the cycling lane
  • A line of traffic more than a kilometer long at a location where I’m used to encountering three or four vehicles waiting at the light
  • A monster-tired bike with an outsized gold rear hub which turned out to be an electric motor — something to keep in mind for the day my legs give out (although I doubt those tires will fit in the bicycle parking racks at home)
  • No end of boorish behavior by motorists

The rattle of ice cubes in the bidon doth not a mechanical make

Perpetual reminder to self

Where to next?

October is typically a sweet spot for cycling, so long as the typhoons hold off. Sunday is looking nice so I’m planning to dust off Kuroko then. I have a long weekend at the end of the month that I usually use for rides — such as Okutama or Miura Kaigan — but this year we’ve got yet another road trip planned.

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3 responses to “400!”

  1. Joe Lejog Avatar
    Joe Lejog

    Excellent that you did 400km this month. You might not have the same mileage as me, but you get on the bike on more days than me. All you need to do is change your route i.e. make it longer, and 400km will be a piece of cake … that you can eat!

    BTW, how do you get that calendar with all your rides names on it? I haven’t seen that feature on Strava … or am I missing it somewhere?

    1. Guy Jean Avatar
      Guy Jean

      That’s from the Garmin site, as is the bar chart of monthly totals. Strava can be very difficult to get historical info from. In some respects it’s great: scatter plots of your time on a segment, for example. But my rides from August 2018? You can get there, but it’s far too much work.

  2. […] I racked up more than half of my 400km ride total in September via commuting, I related a few stories of things I’d seen. I rode my first commute of October today, and garnered a couple of more tales on my way home this […]

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